World Premiere BMW And TYDE Unveil Fully Electric Watercraft THE ICON At The Port Of Cannes
- Collaborative project from BMW Group Designworks and boat maker TYDE set to take place at the 76th Cannes Film Festival
- BMW underscores its leading role in the development of innovative solutions for emission-free mobility and progressive luxury
- High-voltage batteries from BMW i supply powerful electric drive system
- Hans Zimmer returns to compose audio for THE ICON
The 76th Cannes Film Festival is underway but one notable world premiere will be in the port of the southern French town rather than on the big screen. There, BMW and boat maker TYDE are presenting THE ICON, a flagbearer for sustainable high-end mobility on water. THE ICON is the first battery-powered watercraft of its kind and brings together emission-free travel with a top-to-bottom vision of luxury.
Image Credits: BMW Media
At 43.14 feet in length with a top speed of 30 knots, THE ICON is a trailblazer for a new breed of battery-electric watercraft. The innovative project is the result of an in-depth sharing of knowledge between experts at BMW, TYDE, and Designworks a BMW Group subsidiary with studios in Los Angeles, Munich, and Shanghai.
The construction of the concept was entrusted to boat maker TYDE and the powerful electric drive system draws from high-voltage batteries supplied by BMW i. The luxury seafaring experience is accompanied by an exclusive soundtrack composed by award-winning film composer and frequent BMW collaborator Hans Zimmer.
THE ICON uses a battery-electric drive system to set new standards in its sector. Up to now, marine electric mobility has been restricted to smaller, slower craft with comparatively little range, and the segment for faster boats with longer range is dominated by models with combustion engines. THE ICON redefines this relationship between the dimensions, top speed, and range of an electrically powered watercraft.
Making this possible is an innovation from yacht racing: hydrofoils. This advanced hull form reduces the energy requirement by up to 80 percent compared with a conventional design. The foiling technology – whereby the craft rides on wing structures below the water level, while the hull floats above the surface of the water – also provides a higher level of travelling comfort and higher speeds.
A pair of 100 kW electric motors convert 240 kWh of energy supplied by six batteries from BMW i into a range of more than 50 nautical miles (approx. 100 km). The craft can deliver an operating speed of 24 knots, while its maximum speed is 30 knots. In combination with its innovative drive system and foiling technology, THE ICON makes almost zero noise, without unpleasant vibrations or shocks and minimizing wake.
Passengers looking for a different audio experience can turn to the on-board Dolby Atmos system, with its ability to deliver superb sound quality throughout the vessel. When it came to developing the sound concept BMW turned to double Academy Award winner Hans Zimmer. The Hollywood composer’s drive system sound note and intentional function tones usher in a new era in the enjoyment of water-based travel.
The design team had the task of translating the unique concept of THE ICON into an experience – from its initial visual impact outside to the view looking out from within. The basic outline, with its prism-like transparent architecture, enables a width of 14.7 feet in the rear section, allowing for a very spacious lounge entrance. The hull itself stands out with it’s a lightweight origami structure, enabling a particularly smooth traveling experience. Furthermore, passengers can enjoy the view directly to the water through large glass surfaces, accentuated by iconic LED light strips at the bow, stern, and the charging connection points throughout the vessel.
The angled glass doors of the watercraft open to a lounge area with artistically designed furniture on a luxurious carpet that creates a kaleidoscope effect. Constructed from sections of metal, the hull of the watercraft reflects sunlight onto the floor like waves on the sea. The user-focused experience centers around the 360° rotating seats. The essential features, including an easy-to-reach tablet-based infotainment system, are arranged within reach. With a simple twist, the seats can be re-positioned to encourage social interaction, making THE ICON a perfect meeting hub that feels at home in any port or harbor.
The craft’s command station is located centrally on the deck and features a ship’s wheel and instruments in authentic BMW design. Instead of traditional nautical instruments, the BMW interface offers a fresh interpretation with all essential functions contained within a digital control unit. The human – machine interaction occurs through a 32-inch touchscreen display with 6k resolution, with the look and feel that resembles the BMW iDrive control/operation system. Teaming up with BMW Operating System 8, this technology unlocks a new dimension in information visualization and digital interaction. Voice commands can be used to access key functions such as range information and weather reports.
The watercraft unveiled in Cannes for the first time is not merely a design study, but a production-ready vehicle that offers pioneering technology for both private and commercial use. It is the first example of its kind to boast such advanced technology.
THE ICON is underpinned by a platform concept offering comprehensive adaptability to individual wishes and needs in terms of both the emotional experience and interior design.
THE ICON impresses with a powerful drive system that creates neither noise nor emissions. Foiling technology allows it to reach high speeds without generating waves or dragging out a wake behind it.
Indeed, the only things THE ICON leaves behind during every journey are pleasure and joy.
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…notes from SP